Born Shyniece Thomas, Lola Brooke is one of 2023's breakout artists, hailing from Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, New York. While Brooke had been rapping for a while as a hobby, she took rapping seriously in 2017, quitting her 9-to-5 job at Little Caesars to focus on rapping.
She's best known for her breakout hit song "Don't Play With It," which became a viral song on social media, especially TikTok. The party anthem introduced the world to the Brooklyn rapper and her unique flow and rapping style.
Embodying the characteristic Brooklyn fierceness, her rugged flow coupled with savage, no-holds-barred bars, Brooke has reincarnated the '90s hip-hop feel with a touch of modernity. Moreover, her deep, gritty voice makes for a scintillating performance whenever she hits the stage.
All these artistic qualities have earned her recognition as one of the most exciting female rap artists to watch. Back in June 2023, Brooke joined other rising stars, including Finesse2Tymes, GloRilla, Central Cee, Fridayy, Luh Tyler, Tia Corine, and Rob49, as part of XXL's 2023 Freshman class.
Empowering Female Rappers
While she is on the rise, she is not shy about extending a hand to help other female rap artists. For instance, while making the now viral song, she looked out for Billy B, who was pregnant at the time, to collaborate with her. In an interview with BET, she noted, "I always made sure that I kept my eye on Billy because I felt like she was someone like me."
She continued, saying, "I never really got to meet another female artist that I can relate to. So I was looking for her because she was missing, and I know how it is as a female artist – [it's easy to] get discouraged." "It's a lot of opinions going around," she said, recognizing the difficulty female artists face. "I just felt something. This girl was having a baby," she added.
The fact that Billy is a fellow Brooklyn artist made the collaboration that much more significant for Brooke. "We from Brooklyn, we got to come outside, we got to do what we supposed to do."
Nonetheless, she did not expect the song to be a viral song or a party anthem in New York. "I sent her 'Don't Play With It' to get on it, and it's crazy because I didn't really think anything of it," Brooke explained. She concluded, saying, "I just wanted us to work and wanted her to feel good and know that she's not in this by herself."
Inspiring Younger Female Rappers
Speaking with Rolling Stone, she says, "I hope to represent for the girls." And she has represented sisterhood in rap exceptionally well. Importantly, she has shown all the female rap artists that you can showcase your talents in any way. You don't have to fit in any box.
Notably, she's quick to recognize female artists who've inspired her. In an interview with Brooklyn Magazine, she said, "I love Lil' Kim and Foxy Brown — we're actually all from the same neighborhood."
She still draws inspiration from these legendary MCs. "Sometimes, when I make music, I listen back to it, and it doesn't surprise me how much we sound alike because we're from the same area. It's just in us, not on us … so I give them a lot of credit."
Brooke is the walking embodiment of female rapper empowerment, following in the footsteps of female industry giants including Lil' Kim, Lauryn Hill, Foxy Brown, and more recently, Nicki Minaj while also blazing the trail for other female rappers.
Just as other legendary female MCs have inspired her, she's inspiring other female rappers with dreams of breaking out in the music industry.